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Flynn at U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C, on Dec. 18, 2018. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

District Judge Emmet Sullivan dismissed the case against former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn on Tuesday, declaring it moot after President Trump's pardon last week.

Why it matters: The move by Sullivan, who has been targeted by Trump allies for his refusal to immediately dismiss the case after the Justice Department requested that he do so, brings an end to a three-year prosecution in which Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his Russian contacts.

What they're saying: "President Trump’s decision to pardon Mr. Flynn is a political decision, not a legal one. Because the law recognizes the President’s political power to pardon, the appropriate course is to dismiss this case as moot," Sullivan wrote in his opinion.

  • "[A] pardon does not necessarily render “innocent” a defendant of any alleged violation of the law. Indeed, the Supreme Court has recognized that the acceptance of a pardon implies a “confession” of guilt," Sullivan continued.
  • On the question of whether he would have dismissed the case had Trump not issued a pardon, Sullivan wrote that the Justice Department's stated rationales for dropping the charges are "dubious to say the least, arguably overcoming the strong presumption of regularity that usually attaches to prosecutorial decisions."

The big picture: Trump's pardon of Flynn was the first of several expected in the coming weeks, as Axios first reported. Trump is blindly discussing giving pardons "like Christmas gifts" to people who haven't even asked, sources with direct knowledge of the conversations told Axios.

Read the opinion.

Go deeper

Supreme Court dismisses Trump emoluments lawsuits as moot

Photo: Zach Gibson/Pool/Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Monday ordered lower courts to dismiss two cases that alleged former President Donald Trump unlawfully profited from his businesses while in office, in violation of the Constitution's emoluments clauses.

The big picture: Both sides agreed the issue had become moot after Trump's term finished on Jan. 20, according to Bloomberg, ending a prolonged legal battle that extended for most of his presidency.

51 mins ago - Health

Pfizer coronavirus vaccine safe, effective in children, company says

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

Pfizer and BioNTech's coronavirus vaccine is safe and effective in children ages 5 to 11, albeit at a lower dose than adults receive, the companies said in a press release announcing results from a pediatric trial.

Why it matters: The trial results are a much-needed source of hope for families with elementary school-aged children, who currently aren't eligible for a vaccine.

The pandemic made our workweeks longer

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The average American's workweek has gotten 10% longer during the pandemic, according to a new Microsoft study published in Nature Human Behaviour.

Why it matters: These longer hours are a key part of the pandemic-induced crisis of burnout at U.S. firms — and workers are quitting in droves.